Anton Vanko


Letec, pplk. Anton Vanko

Airman, Lt. Colonel Anton Vanko

Anton Vanko

Hrdina druhej svetovej vojny – pilot Anton Vanko (na fotografiách) sa narodil v Lednických Rovniach 10. januára 1918 v rodine sedliaka. Jeho rodný dom stál na začiatku Súhradky vľavo. Mal ďalších osem súrodencov. Jeho otec Karol nar.1873 mal z prvého manželstva päť detí: Jána, Alexandra, Annu, Máriu a Štefana. Ján a Alex sa vysťahovali do Ameriky a zomreli v Nebraske a Michigane.

Pilot Anton Vanko, a hero of WWII, was born on 10 January 1918 in the Slovak town of Lednické Rovne near Púchov. He had eight other siblings. His father Karol was a farmer, had five children from his first marriage: Ján, Alexander, Anna, Mária and Štefan. Ján (1896-1981), emigrated in 1922 to the USA and lived and died in Lincoln, Nebraska. Alex (1898-1962) also emigrated in 1922 to Detroit, Michigan, where he lived and died.

Po smrti manželky Františky rod. Dubovej sa otec Karol v roku 1913 oženil po druhý krát s Annou Hantákovou, nar. 1887. Z toho manželstva sa narodili ďalšie štyri deti: Karol ml. (1914), Anton (10.1.1918), Emília (1919) a Jozef (1923). Anton sa po skončení základnej školy vyučil za sklára a začal pracovať v sklárňach v Lednických Rovniach. Aktívne pôsobil v miestnej skautskej skupine a v Sokole. Podľa jeho rodiny a priateľov mal Tόno výbornú povahu, večne dobrú náladu, rád spieval, bol to veselý mládenec, ktorý sa na nikoho nevedel nahnevať. Jednoducho chlapec do partie. Sám sa naučil hrať na klavíri a na trúbke, preto ho všade radi videli. S nim prichádzala aj dobrá nálada, pohoda a radosť. Vo voľných chvíľach chodieval hrávať na trúbke-krídlovke na zábavy po okolitých dedinách.

After the death of his first wife, father Karol re-married in 1913. From this marriage, he had four other children: Karol Jr. (1914), Anton (1918), Emília (1919) and Jozef (1923). Anton attended a trade school to learn to be a glass-blower at the local glass factory. This was quite common for many of his peers, as the glass factory had been at Lednické Rovne since 1892. He was active in the local Scouts group as well as the local Sokol. According to his friends and family Tono (nickname for Anton) had a great personality, always had a good mood, loved singing and was a happy young man, the kind of guy who was welcomed in any group. He taught himself to play the piano and trumpet which he freely played for his friends and even in neighbouring villages when local musical events were held.

Anton Vanko v skupine skautov, Lednické Rovne 1936/37.
Anton Vanko, Lednicke Rovne Scout group, 1936/37.

Nevedno ako, no Tόno sa bezhlavo zamiloval do lietania a chcel sa stať letcom. Keď doma pred rodičmi vyhlásil, že bude letcom, mama sa prekrižovala a otec sa iba pousmial, nebral jeho chlapčenské nápady vážne. Keď jeho starší brat Karol chodieval z vojenčiny domov na opušták, Tόno mu neustále obhrýzal uši slávnou vetou: Karol pomôž mi stať sa letcom! Zrazu po pár mesiacoch mu prišli papiere z Prostĕjova, že môže nastúpiť do tamojšej školy leteckého dorastu. Tonov sen sa začal pomaly napĺňať…

Nobody knows why and when, but Tono fell in love with flying and was dreaming about becoming a pilot. When he mentioned this at home, his mother just crossed herself and father just smiled, not taking the boy‘s dream too seriously. When his older brother Karol visited home from his military service, Tono was constantly bending his ears, repeating the same sentence: Karol please help me to become a pilot. A couple of months, later out of the blue, Tono received an application from the Prostějov Military Academy for joining their flying school for young cadets. His dream slowly started to become reality…

Anton Vanko, Československé vojenské letecto.
Anton Vanko, Czechoslovak Air Force.

Po ukončení školy pôsobil najprv na letisku v Piešťanoch, neskôr v Trenčianskych Biskupiciach. Po vypuknutí 2. svetovej vojny bol už aktívny poddôstojník a slúžil ako kuriérny pilot medzi východným frontom a zázemím. Jeho sen – stať sa letcom sa mu splnil, lenže spokojný nebol. Nebol spokojný s rozbitím republiky, chcel aktívne bojovať proti Nemcom. Dni a týždne rozmýšlal o tom, kedy sa mu naskytne nejaká príležitosť odletieť na Západ a zaradiť sa medzi letcov – dobrovoľníkov o ktorých úspechoch často počúval v rádiu v relácii Volá Londýn!

After successfully graduating from the flying school, he started was posted to the airbase in Piešťany and later to Trenčianske Biskupice near Trenčín. When WW2 broke out, he already had the rank of a NCO (non- commissioned officer) serving as a ferry pilot between the Slovak Eastern border and his home airbase. His dream to be a pilot was realised, but he was not happy yet. The breakup of Czechoslovakia by the Germans was urging him to get involved in the fight against their occupation. For days, without success, he was thinking about when and how to find a way to fly to the West and to join the volunteer pilots whose successes he heard about on the radio ‘Voice of London’.

Anton Vanko, Československé vojenské letecto.
Anton Vanko, Czechoslovak Air Force.

Počas okupácie územia Čiech a Moravy a existencie prvej slovenskej republiky počas druhej svetovej vojny fungovala dočasná Československá vláda na čele s prezidentom E. Benešom v Londýne. Britská vláda vtedy hľadala každého, kto by bol ochotný za nich bojovať. Vláda Veľkej Británie a Československá dočasná vláda podpísali 25.10.1940 dohodu, ktorá sa zaoberala vojenským pôsobením čs. vojakov a letcov v Británii. Letci vytvorili československé perute Royal Air Force (RAF). Naši letci tu boli postupne zapájaní do výcviku na britských lietadlách a veľmi úspešne zasiahli do bojov o Veľkú Britániu.

During the Nazi occupation of Bohemia and Moravia and the founding of the first Slovak Republic, the Czechoslovak government, headed by President Eduard Beneš was operating in exile in the UK. The British government was looking for any volunteers who could help in the fight against Germany. The British and Czechoslovak exile governments signed an agreement in October 1940 which stipulated the involvement of Czechoslovak military personnel in the joint fight. Thus the Czechoslovak airmen were assigned to Czechoslovak squadrons within the Royal Air Force (RAF). These airmen were gradually trained on British aircraft and successfully fought in battles for Great Britain.

Po prvý raz sa Anton o útek do zahraničia zaujímal v máji 1939, keď sa s priateľmi informovali na francúzskom konzuláte v Bratislave, či by Francúzi zobrali slovenských letcov do vlastného letectva. Tam nepochodili. Nádejná príležitosť nastala, keď v leteckých opravovniach v Trenčianskych Biskupiciach začiatkom roka 1943 dávali technici dokopy Antku Aviu B-71 . Opravené lietadlo priam provokovalo predstavivosť mladých pilotov. S kolegami Františkom (Leom) Slezákom a Ľudovítom Pollákom začali spriadať plán odletu do Turecka a od tiaľ do Británie. Túto trasu považovali pre nich za najbezpečnejšiu. Pridal sa hlavný mechanik Jozef Koman a mechanik Ján Bžoch. Tí dokonale prezerali technicky vynovené dvojmotorové lietadlo a neustále ho vylepšovali a testovali. Odlet 4. apríla im nevyšiel. A tak si ďalší deň odletu pätica naplánovala na Kvetnú nedeľu 18. apríla 1943.

Avia B-71

For the very first time, Anton and his friends showed an interest in an escape in 1939. They contacted the French Consulate in Bratislava with an inquiry if France would accept Slovak pilots in their Air Force, but no such luck. A promising opportunity arrived in 1943 when at the Trenčianske Biskupice airfield, arrived an Avia B-71, known as an ‘Antka’, aircraft for repairs. When the mechanics finished their work, it fuelled the imagination of the young airmen. Together with colleagues František (Leo) Slezák and Ľudovít Pollak they started to plan an escape to Turkey and then onto the UK. This seems to be the easiest way for them. Two aircraft mechanics Jozef Koman and Ján Bžoch joined the group. They were responsible for bringing the repaired aircraft to a tip-top shape. Their planned departure for 4 April 1943 did not materialise, so the next date was set for Sunday 18 April.

V ten deň čatár Anton Vanko naštartoval motor Antky a ostatní naskákali do lietadla, nezastavil ich ani žandár, ktorý sa tam objavil. Slovenskí chlapci preleteli ponad trenčiansky hrad, preleteli ponad Maďarsko, Rumunsko, Bulharsko a keď v diaľke videli siluetu Istambulu, začal im vynechávať jeden motor. Pôvodný plán pozrieť si mesto z vrchu a vyhľadať letisko museli zmeniť na núdzove pristátie v teréne pri Kestanelike asi 26 km od Istambulu.

On that day, čatár (Sgt) Anton Vanko started the Antka, the rest of the group hastily boarded the aircraft so that they could not be stopped even by the security guard who had just arrived. The Slovak boys flew over, Trenčín castle, across Hungry, Rumania and Bulgaria and soon they could see the skyline of Istanbul in the distance. That’s when one of the engines started sputtering and their original plan of seeing the city from above and finding the airport was over. Instead, they had to make an emergency landing in an open field near Kestanelike about 25 km from Istanbul.

O tom, čo nasledovalo potom by sa dala napísať celá kniha. Ich cesta z Turecka do Anglie im trvala dlhých šesť mesiacov! Koľko prekážok a útrap museli prekonať mladí slovenskí chlapci, len aby mohli bojovať proti Nemcom.

An entire book could be written about what followed. The journey from Turkey to England took six long months! These Slovak boys had to overcome many obstacles and struggles so that they could go and fight against the Germans.

V Turecku na vojenskej polícii nasledovali nekonečné výsluchy. Koman, ktorý vedel nemecky ich neustále ubezpečoval, že majú jediný cieľ: dostať sa čo najskôr do zahraničného odboja v Británii. Veliteľ istambulskej vojenskej posádky im nakoniec sľúbil pomoc, pridal im tlmočníka a poslal ich do Ankary. Skupina sa na čas oddelila a zasa spojila. Nasledovala cesta loďou do Izmiru, väzenie v hygienicky neznesiteľných podmienkach a návrat do Istambulu, cesta vlakom cez sýrsky Halab a Damašek do Jeruzalema. V Halabe sa ich cesta znovu zasekla a ako podozrivých ich ich zatvorili do utečeneckého karanténneho tábora. Tu Vanko, Slezák a Pollák dostali maláriu s vysokými teplotami. Keď sa vyliečili, podarilo sa im dostať z tábora a nasadnúť na vojenský vlak do Bejrútu a od tiaľ do Jaffy a Jeruzalema. V Jeruzaleme sa ich ujal čs. konzulát v Palestíne, boli zaregistrovaní ako dobrovoľníci čs. zahraničnej armády. Nasledoval ozdravovací pobyt, kúpanie v Mŕtvom mori a pobyt v Getsemanskej záhrade spojený s modlitbami. Od tiaľ si chlapci doniesli kamienky, ktoré potom nosili všade so sebou. Potom nasledovala cesta do Káhiry, opäť zajatecký tábor a výsluchy, krátke stretnutie s Komanom a Bžochom (ich loď bola bombardovaná a potopená nemeckými lietadlami, zachránil ich záchranný čln). Neskôr cesta loďou do Alžíra, niekoľko dňová plavba oceánom, až konečne pristáli v Liverpoole. Po pár dňoch oddychu konečne cestovali do Londýna.

Z ľava do prava stoja: František Slezák, Anton Vanko, Jozef Koman, Ľudovít Pollák, Ján Bžoch
– Ankara, 24. marec 1943
Left to right, standing: František Slezák, Anton Vanko, Jozef Koman, Ľudevít Pollák, Ján Bžoch,
Ankara 24 March, 1943.

They had to undergo endless questioning and interrogation by the military police. Jozef Koman, who spoke German kept reassuring them that they only have one goal: to get to the foreign resistance movement in Britain. The Police Chief at Istanbul finally promised to help them, gave them an interpreter and send them to Ankara. There the group were initially separated and then were reunited. What then followed was a boat trip to Izmir, a stay in a jail with horrible hygienic conditions, returned to Istanbul and then by train through Syrian Hallab, Damascus and onto to Jerusalem. In Hallab their journey encountered more troubles and as suspicious individuals, they were sent to a quarantined refugee camp. Here Vanko, Slezák and Pollak contracted malaria resulting in them having very high temperatures. After recuperation, they managed to leave the refugee camp and get on a military train to Beirut and from there to Jaffa and Jerusalem. In Jerusalem they met with Czechoslovak Consul in Palestine, they were registered as volunteers of the Czechoslovak foreign military. They then undertook recuperation, which included swimming in the Dead Sea and attending the Gethsemane garden for prayers. From here they brought some small pebbles which they then carried with them everywhere they went. What followed was a trip to Cairo, another foreign camp and further cross-examinations. Here they reunited with Koman and Bžoch, whose ship had been attacked and sunk by German aircraft and they had to be rescued by life-boats. Finally a voyage to Algeria and, from where, after several days at sea they arrived in Liverpool.

Štvrtok 14. oktόbra 1943 bol v pamäti Antona Vanku, Ľuda Polláka a Lea Slezáka zapísaný ako veľký deň. V ten deň dorazili vlakom do Londýna a boli ubytovaní v Czechoslovak home vo Westminsterskom obvode. O pár dní na to sa stretli s Dr. Clementisom a ďalšími predstaviteľmi čs. vlády. Dr. Clemenits rýchlo pochopil aký odvážny a zároveň senzačný skutok sa podaril skupine slovenských letcov útekom cez Turecko a Izrael do Británie. Dňa 19.oktόbra pripravili tlačovú konferenciu s troma slovenskými pilotmi, kde boli prítomní desiatky žurnalistov zo Spojeného kráľovstva a zahraničia. Interview s Antonom Vankom – pilotom Antky publikovali v nedeľnom vydaní Reynolds News a jeho fotografiou na prvej strane. Novinári predostreli anglickým čitateľom myšlienku, koľko útrap a prekážok museli mladí Slováci prekonať len kôli tomu, aby dostali príležitost bojovať proti Nemcom. Angličanovi stačilo narukovať do britskej armády, ak sa tak ako dobrovoľník rozhodol urobiť. No mladí Slováci kôli takejto možnosti museli prejsť takmer pol sveta. Trojica bola prijatá ministrom zahraničných vecí Janom Masarykom. Interview v Reynolds News s Antonom Vankom malo úžasnú odozvu medzi českými a slovenskými vojakmi, všade sa o tom hovorilo. Dokonca Antona vyhľadal Gejza Hološko, rodák z Lednických Rovní (brat výtvarníka Karola Hološku) a priateľ jeho brata Karola, ktorý žil v Argentíne a ktorý počas druhej svetovej vojny bojoval v britskej armáde ako veliteľ tanku.

Thursday 14 of October 1943 was embedded in Vanko, Pollak and Slezák’s memories as a big day. On that day they arrived by train in London and were sent to a Czechoslovak home in the District of Westminster. A couple of days later they met with Dr. Clementis and other representatives of the Czechoslovak Government in Exile. Dr Clementis quickly realised the brave and sensational escape these Slovak airmen had undertaken through Turkey, Israel and then on to Britain. On 19 October, a press conference was arranged with the three Slovak airmen which were attended by British and many foreign journalists. An interview with Anton Vanko, the pilot of the Antka, was published in the next Sunday issue of Reynolds News together with his photo on the front page. The reporter presented to the readers an idea about the struggles and obstacles which the Slovak airmen had to overcome to get a chance to join in the fight against the Germans. It was much easier for any Englishmen to volunteer to join the British military if they chose to do so. The interview in the Reynolds News had a big following among Czech and Slovak soldiers, they all talked about it. Even one native from Lednické Rovne, living in Argentina and fighting as a tank commander in the British Army looked up Anton Vanko in London.

Jozef Koman a Ján Bžoch docestovali do Londýna o desať dní skôr. Všetci boli zaradení do preškolovacích stredísk po Anglicku. Je známe, že Leo Slezák lietal skúšobne na Hurricanoch a Jozef Koman bol preškolený na pilota- pozorovateľa a obsluhovača bombovnice.

Jozef Koman and Ján Bžoch arrived in London ten days earlier. All of them were assigned to various re-training centres throughout England.

Anton Vanko, 57. britská cvičná operačná jednotka (OTU) Eshott, august 1944.
Anton Vanko, 57 OTU Eshott, August 1944.

Anton sa dostal hneď na spitfire. Od 57. britskej cvičnej operačnej jednotky (OTU) bol prevelený k 312. Československej stíhacej peruti. Žiaľ 8. decembra 1944 zahynul ako pilot lietadla Spitfire v hodnosti rotmajstra pri zrážke lietadiel na letisku Bradwell Bay. Stalo sa tak za veľmi zlých poveternostných podmienok počas štartu k operačnému letu, ktorého cieľom bol ochranný doprovod zväzku bombardovacích Lancasterov nad vlakové nádražie v Duisburgu.

At 57 OTU (Operational Training Unit), Anton was re-trained to fly Spitfires, and then posted to 312 (Czechoslovak) Sqn. Unfortunately, on 8 December 1944 Anton as a pilot of a Spitfire was killed in a collision with other aircraft at Bradwell Bay airfield. It was during extreme weather conditions during a start of an operational flight as a protective support for Lancaster bombers for a raid on the railway station at Duisburg, Germany.

Bol pochovaný na cintoríne v Brookwoode, neďaleko Londýna vo vojenskom oddelení RAF, hrob č. 20.D.12.

Anton was buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery. near London, in grave row 20.D.12.

V roku 1946 mu bol udelený Čs. vojnový kríž in memoriam a v roku 1991 bol ministrom národnej obrany ČSFR povýšený do hodnosti podplukovníka in memoriam.

In 1946 he was awarded the Válečný kříž 1939 (Czechoslovak War Cross 1939) in memoriam. In 1991, the Czechoslovak Minister of Defense, promoted him in memoriam, to the rank of podplukovník (Lieutenant Colonel).

Ešte musím spomenúť, že náš Anton Vanko pred spomínaným odletom zo Slovenska na jar 1943 priletel lietadlom na Lednické Rovne. Zakrúžil lietadlom ponad rodný dom, smial sa a zhodil matke list na rozlúčku (s pribaleným kovovým šrόbom na zaťaženie), akoby tušil že sa vidia naposledy. Tonkova neter – pani Anna Danišová, ktorá dodnes žije v Lednických Rovniach bola pri tom a na túto scénu si zreteľne pamätá. Odpočívaj v pokoji náš drahý krajan! Ďakujeme, že si položil svoj život za našu slobodu!

We also like to mention that Anton before his flight from Slovakia in the spring of 1943 flew over Lednické Rovne, circled over his family home and dropped a goodbye letter to his mother, to which he attached metal screw as a weight. His niece Anna, who was a young girl at that time, has a vivid memory of the occasion. Rest in peace our dear countryman!

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Do histórie Kráľovského letectva sa však natrvalo vpísali aj iní Slováci ako napríklad piloti: Otto Smik, Juraj Landsmann, Karol Kodeš a Eugen Kraft z Bratislavy, Andrej Beleš zo Stupavy, Imrich Gablech z Hrachovišťa, Jozef Grič z Nitr. Stredy, Jozef Chabák zo Zvolena, Jozef Kukučka z Kysuc. N. Mesta, Ladislav Nagy zo Štrby, Anton Provonič zo Záh. Bystrice, Anton Radič z Piesčan, Ján Tomko z Úbrežu, Bohumil Votruba zo Skalice, Ján Škrinár z Myjavy, Ján Štark z Prešova. Palubní strelci: Jozef Drblík z Vel. Rovní a František Tanuška z Hrabovky; pozemný personál: Ján Zelko z Dol. Sŕnia, Jozef Vaniš z Lipt. Teplej, Pavol Kuban z Beckova, František Kulka z Lazov p. Makytou a Pavol Koroš z Marikovej; rádiomechanici: Jozef Rehák z Led. Rovní, Tibor Karas z Ladiec, František Pšenčík a František Skalík z Trenč. Teplíc, Ivan Schwarz z Bytče, Ján Šimko z Mor. Lieskového, Ladislav Žilák z Poltára; letecký mechanik: Arnold Schlesinger z Bytče; zásobovač benzínu: Ján Zeleňák z Drietomy; lekár: MUDr. Arnold Hirtenstein z Trebišova; technický prekladateľ: Ing.Pavol Schulz z Levíc; kuchár: Štefan Gáborko zo Streženíc a mnohí iní, ktorí pôsobili a bojovali s bratmi Čechmi v RAF za oslobodenie Veľkej Británie a ukončenie vojny. Bolo ich 2.507, vrátane príslušníkov leteckého personálu, 512 z nich zahynulo. Telá takmer tretiny z nich sa nikdy nenašli.

There were other Slovak pilots permanently enrolled in the history of RAF. Pilots like Otto Smik, Juraj Landsmann, Karol Kodeš and Eugen Kraft from Bratislava, Andrej Beleš from Stupava, Imrich Gablech from Hrachovište, Jozef Grič from Nitr. Streda, Jozef Chabák from Zvolen, Jozef Kukučka from Kysucké Nové Mesto, Ladislav Nagy from Štrba, Anton Provonič from Záhorská Bystrica, Anton Radič from Piesčany, Ján Tomko from Úbrež, Bohumil Votruba from Skalica, Ján Škrinár from Myjava, Ján Štark from Prešov. Besides pilots there were also air-gunners like Jozef Drblík from Velké Rovne, František Tanuška from Hrabovka (who later lived &died in Los Angeles); groundstaff like Ján Zelko from Dolné Srnie, Jozef Vaniš from Liptovská Teplá, Pavol Kuban from Beckov, František Kulka from Lazy pod Makytou, Pavol Koroš from Mariková; wireless mechanics/operators like Jozef Rehák from Lednické Rovné, Tibor Karas from Ladce, František Pšenčík a František Skalík from Trenčianske Teplice, Ivan Schwarz from Bytča, Ján Šimko from Moravské Lieskové, Ladislav Žilák from Poltár; flight enginneers like Arnold Schlesinger from Bytča; drivers like Ján Zeleňák from Drietoma; medical officer like Dr. Arnold Hirtenstein from Trebišov; technical interpreter like Pavol Schulcz from Levice; cook like Štefan Gáborko from Streženice and many others who fought along with their Czech compatriots in the RAF for liberation of Great Britain and end of the war. There were a total of 2,507 including members of the aircraft personnel. 512 of them were killed with nearly one third of whom, their bodies were never found.

Je známe, ako sa komunistický režim zachoval k príslušníkom RAF, ktorí prežili a vrátili sa domov. Čakalo ich prepustenie z armády, postih rodín, vypočúvanie, väznenie…, mnohí sa vrátili späť do zahraničia. Našťastie po roku 1989 boli všetci rehabilitovaní.

It is well known how the Communist regime treated the RAF personnel who survived and returned home. Awaiting their release from the army, penalising families, interrogating, imprisoning … many returned to the rest of the world. Fortunately, after 1989, everyone was rehabilitated.

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Zuzana and Jan Peer, October 2017




Posted in 312 Sqd, Biography, Not Forgotton | 5 Comments

Christmas Remembrance at Brookwood


Vánoční zastavení na hřbitově v Brookwoodu.

From an initial idea about the Czechoslovak graves at Brookwood, an initiative developed to place candles against each of the 130 graves so that those Czechoslovak airmen and soldiers were remembered at Christmas.

Prvotní představy jak ozdobit hroby Čechoslováků v Brookwoodu nakonec vyústily v umístění svící na každý ze 130 hrobů a všichni zde pochovaní českoslovenští letci a vojáci tak mohli být účastni svátečního času Vánoc s námi.

To achieve the initiative, remembrance candles were brought over from the Czech Republic. During the Christmas period, a small group visited Brookwood and placed candles by each of the 46 graves by the Czechoslovak Memorial, the 3 graves opposite the RAF building, the 80 graves in the post-WW2 Czechoslovak section and concluding at the Liberator crash communal grave site.

Vánoční svíce byly k tomuto účelu přivezeny ze samotné České republiky. Během vánočních svátků pak malá skupina hostů navštívila Brookwood a umístila svíce ke každému ze 46 hrobů u Československého památníku, tři hrobů naproti budově RAF, 80 hrobů v československé poválečné sekci a ke společnému hrobu obětí havárie Liberatoru.

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time this Christmas remembrance has ever been done, and so hearty congratulations to Martin Fryčka, Monika Humlová and friend who originated and implemented this worthy initiative.

Podle našeho nejlepšího vědomí je to vůbec poprvé, kdy se tato vánoční vzpomínka uskutečnila, a tak srdečně blahopřejeme Martinovi Fryčkovi, Monice Humlové a příteli, kteří iniciovali a uskutečnili tuto šlechetnou myšlenku.




Posted in 310 Sqd, 311 Sqd, 312 Sqd, 313 Sqd, 68 Sqd, Cemetries, Not Forgotton | 9 Comments

Ivan Otto SCHWARZ


Ivan Otto SCHWARZ

* 11/12/23, Bratislava, Czechoslovakia.
† 04/01/18, London, UK.

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With sadness we must advise that

W/O Ivan Otto SCHWARZ 788206

311 Sqn air gunner

died

4 January 2018,

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4. 1. 2018. v Londýně.

zemřel

W/O Ivan Otto SCHWARZ 788206

311.perutě palubní střelec

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Rest in Peace

Čest jeho památce




Posted in 311 Sqd, No longer with us | 7 Comments

Remembered 2017


Bahamas :

Nassau – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Belgium :

Antwerp – Arnošt MRTVÝ – remembrance / vzpomínka

Ypres – Karel PAVLÍK

July – remembrance / červenec – vzpomínka

November – remembrance / listopad – vzpomínka

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Czech Republic :

Blovice – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Brno – Leopold ŠROM – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Český Krumlov – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Dolní Břežany – Eduard PRCHAL

May – remembrance / května – vzpomínka

November – remembrance / listopad – vzpomínka

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Holesov – new memorial plaque unveiled / odhalení nové pamětní desky

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Horní Suchá – Pavel KOCFELDA – new memorial plaque unveiled / odhalení nové pamětní desky

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Hrdibořice – Vojtěch KUBALÍK – new memorial plaque unveiled / odhalení nové pamětní desky

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Chrudim – Jaroslav KUDLÁČEK – new memorial plaque unveiled / odhalení nové pamětní desky

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Jackov – Jaroslav HLOUŽEK – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Jesenice – Josef ŘECHKA

September – remembrance / září – vzpomínka

November – remembrance / listopad – vzpomínka

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Jindřichův Hradec – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Karviná – Josef ŠČERBA – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Kroměříž – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Kyjov – Vladimír NEDVĚD – new memorial plaque unveiled / odhalení nové pamětní desky

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Lomnice nad Popelkou – František TRUHLÁŘ – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Olešnice – Zdeněk ŠKARVADA – new memorial plaque unveiled / odhalení nové pamětní desky

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Olomouc – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Plzeň

– Jiří HARTMAN – remembrance / vzpomínka

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– Karel PAVLÍK, Václav ŠINDELÁŘ and Alois ZÁLESKÝ

May – remembrance / května – vzpomínka

November – remembrance / listopad vzpomínka

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– Karel PAVLÍK – remembrance / vzpomínka

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– Edita SEDLÁKOVÁ – new memorial plaque unveiled / odhalení nové pamětní desky

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– Ladislav SVĚTLÍK – new memorial plaque unveiled / odhalení nové pamětní desky

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Prague

– Josef BRYKS – remembrance / vzpomínka

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– František FAJTL new memorial plaque unveiled / odhalení nové pamětní desky

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– Karel JANOUŠEK

August – remembrance / vzpomínka

November – remembrance / listopad – vzpomínka

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– Winged Lion Monument

August – remembrance / vzpomínka

November – new names plaque / listopad

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Rakovnik – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Roudnice_nad_Labem

Roudnice nad Labem – Eduard ŠIMON – remembrance / březen – vzpomínka

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Rožná – Adolf ZELENÝ – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Svatý Kříž – Karel KUTTELWASCHER – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Topolany – Jan MARŠÁLEK, Cyril SKLENÁŘ – new memorial / nový památník

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Vítová – Oldřich DOLEŽAL

March – remembrance / březen – vzpomínka

May – remembrance / května – vzpomínka

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Vlašim – Josef PŘÍHODA – new memorial plaque unveiled / odhalení nové pamětní desky

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Vlkoš – Zdeněk VÍTEK – new memorial plaque unveiled / odhalení nové pamětní desky

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Zichovec – Jiří HARTMAN – new memorial plaque unveiled / odhalení nové pamětní desky

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France :

Pihen-les-Guines – Stanislav FEJFAR – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Holland :

Bergen– Josef MOHR – remembrance / vzpomínka

Petten

Bergen op Zoom– Josef POLITZER – remembrance / vzpomínka

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United Kingdom :

Brookwood

July – remembrance / červenec – vzpomínka

October – remembrance / October – vzpomínka

December – remembrance / prosinec – vzpomínka

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Capel le Ferne

July – remembrance / červenec – vzpomínka

November – remembrance / listopad – vzpomínka

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Chevington, Northumberland

Ladislav KOCOUREK – remembrance / vzpomínka

Václav ŠINDELÁŘ – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Dagenham – František MAREK – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Duxford

John BOULTON – remembrance / vzpomínka

November / listopad

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Guernsey – remembrance / vzpomínka

Josef BLÁHA, Jaroslav NOVÁK

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Harrow

Jaroslav SLABÝ, Jan VESELÝ, František ZAPLETAL – remembrance / vzpomínka

Josef ALBRECHT, Jaroslav MATOUŠEK – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Honington – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Hornchurch

František BÖNISCH – remembrance / vzpomínka

Prokop BRÁZDA – remembrance / vzpomínka

Blažej KONVALINA – remembrance / vzpomínka

Josef VALENTA – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Kenley – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Leamington Spa – remembrance / vzpomínka

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London

– Battle of Britain Memorial

May – remembrance / května – vzpomínka

June – remembrance / vzpomínka

October – remembrance / vzpomínka

November – remembrance / listopad – vzpomínka

– Bomber Command Memorial

January – remembrance / leden – vzpomínka

August

November -remembrance / listopad – vzpomínka

– St Clement Danes – remembrance / vzpomínka

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North Weald Bassett – Tomáš KOZÁK – remembrance / vzpomínka

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North Weald – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Northwood

Josef FRANTIŠEK- remembrance / vzpomínka

Vilém KOŠAŘ – remembrance / vzpomínka

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– Polish Airmen’s Memorial – remembrance / vzpomínka

Josef FRANTIŠEK – remembrance / vzpomínka

Vilém KOŠAŘ – remembrance / vzpomínka

Matěj PAVLOVIČ – remembrance / vzpomínka

Vladislav UHER – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Reigate – Bohumil HORÁK – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Scottow

Václav BREJCHA – remembrance / vzpomínka

František GLAUDER – remembrance / vzpomínka

Petr HAAS – remembrance / vzpomínka

Jaroslav KOVANDA – remembrance / vzpomínka

Jozef MENŠÍK – remembrance / vzpomínka

Karel RICHTER – remembrance / vzpomínka

Rudolf SLÍVA remembrance / vzpomínka

František VAŠATA – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Uxbridge – Karel KUTTELWASCHER – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Westwell – Josef DYGRÝN – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Whittlesford

Benedikt POHNER – remembrance / vzpomínka

Jaroslav ZAVADIL – remembrance / vzpomínka

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Whyteleafe

František BĚHAL – remembrance / vzpomínka

Albín NASSWETER -remembrance / vzpomínka

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Posted in 310 Sqd, 311 Sqd, 312 Sqd, 313 Sqd, 68 Sqd | Leave a comment

Christmas 2017






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Brookwood Remembrance bench


Vzpomínková lavička v Brookwoodu.

Brookwood has been the location for many remembrance events to remember the Czechoslovak RAF airmen and soldiers who served in Allied forces during WW2; from State Presidents, Government Ministers, Ambassadors to a steady stream of Czech and Slovak visitors who visit there each year. This year – 2017 – was no exception but a saw a unique and poignant when, following an initiative by Petr Něnička from the General Sergěj Ingr Military Museum in Vlkoš, a remembrance bench was brought over from the Czech Republic and placed by the post-WW2 Czechoslovak ex-Servicemens plot at Brookwood.

Brookwood je místem mnoha vzpomínkových akcí na počest a k uctění památky československých vojáků, kteří sloužili v řadách RAF a v ostatních spojeneckých silách během druhé světové války; presidenti států, ministři vlád, velvyslanci, až po nepřetržitou řadu českých a slovenských návštěvníků, kteří toto místo každoročně navštěvují. Tento rok – rok 2017 – nebyl výjimkou a navíc byl svědkem naprosto jedinečné a neopakovatelné události, kdy na základě iniciativy Petra Něničky z Vojenského muzea generála Sergěje Ingra ve Vlkoši, byla z České republiky převezena Vzpomínková lavička válečných veteránů a umístěna pak v československé sekci vojenského hřbitova v Brookwoodu.

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The project was named ‘Cesta poděkování, úcty a pokory‘ – journey to thank, honour and show humility – and the team who brought the bench to Brookwood, consisted of Petr Něnička, Andrea Něničková, kpt. Petra Kudová, Pavel Křižka, Petr Suchánek and Veronika Raszyková. They had driven a round trip of some 4000 km to bring the bench to Brookwood where it was assembled and positioned facing the graves in that plot. An informal ceremony was then held to unveil the bench; the Czech flag being placed over the bench and then a remembrance wreath placed. Some samples of soil, taken from the National Monument at Vítkov, Prague were then symbolically sprinkled adjacent to the bench.

Celou výpravu, která nesla jméno “Cesta poděkování, úcty a pokory”, tvořili Petr Něnička, Andrea Něničková, kpt. Petra Kudová, Pavel Křížka, Petr Suchánek a Veronika Raszyková. Aby mohli lavičku umístit v československé sekci vojenského hřbitova v Brookwoodu a vrátit se zpět do vlasti, museli urazit téměř 4 000 km. Vzpomínková lavička byla umístěna u hrobu Dr. Karla Macháčka, který sloužil v RAF jako lékař a poté byla lavička odhalena formou sejmutí velké české vlajky, položen k ní požehnaný věneček a místo posypáno prstí hlíny, odebrané u Národního památníku na Vítkově v Praze.

The team had also brought some soil specimens from Vlkoš, the home village of Dr Karel Machacek, who served in the RAF as a medical officer during WW2 and who is interred in this plot. This was symbolically sprinkled by British relatives of Dr Machecek by his grave.

Výprava přivezla s sebou také prsť hlíny z moravské obce Vlkoš, domoviny Dr. Macháčka. Jeho přítomní příbuzní pak touto prstí symbolicky posypali okolí jeho náhrobku, místa jeho posledního odpočinku na Brookwoodském hřbitově.

The afternoon concluded with a wreath being laid, and candles lit, at the Czechoslovak memorial in the CWGC section of Brookwood Military Cemetery.

Slavnostní odpoledne bylo zakončeno zapálením svíček v československé sekci CWGC vojenského hřbitova Brookwood.

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A big thank you to the many sponsors that made this bench possible, some of whom are listed here:

Velké poděkování patří především všem, díky jejichž příspěvkům mohla lavička vzniknout. Řada z nich je zde uvedena:

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Included during the teams short visit to the UK, was also stopping to lay wreaths at the National Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel le Ferne, Kent and at the London Battle of Britain Memorial at Westminster Embankment, London.

V rámci krátké návštěvy této výpravy ve Velké Británii, se její účastníci rovněž zastavili u památníku Battle of Britain Memorial v Capel le Ferne v Kentu, aby zde položili věnce, stejně jako pak u památníku Battle of Britain Memorial na Westminsterském nábřeží v Londýně.




Posted in 310 Sqd, 311 Sqd, 312 Sqd, 313 Sqd, 68 Sqd, Cemetries, Not Forgotton | 1 Comment

The Czech Fighter Squadrons in West Sussex



Apuldram and Tangmere

The Czechoslovak Fighter Squadrons; 310 Sqn, 312 Sqn and 313 Sqn, came to West Sussex in the spring of 1944 and carried out sorties in preparation for D-Day, during D-Day and after D-Day. They were stationed at Apuldram near Chichester and then for a shorter period at Tangmere before leaving for Kent.

D-Day: RAF Tangmere and satellites

Preparation for D-Day began in early May 1944 with the requisitioning of farmland and the upgrading of existing emergency landing zones.

There were 22 airfields for fighters and bombers in Southern England identified to provide protection for the troops during and after the invasion.

On the 15 February 1944, the RAF Tangmere Sector Operations Room transferred to College Hall at Bishop Otter College, now Chichester University.

126 Wing (Squadrons 401, 411 and 412) and 127 Wing (403, 416 and 421 Squadrons), all Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), were stationed at Tangmere providing cover during the invasion. On 7 June, eight of the twelve Ju 88s which were attacking the beaches were shot down by the Canadians. The squadrons moved to sites in Normandy on 18 June.

Three Free French Squadrons, 329, 340 and 341, were located at Merston ALG (Advanced Landing Ground) and provided Spitfire low-level cover for the troop-carrying ships and the Normandy bridgehead.

129 Wing (184 US Squadron) arrived at Westhampnett in May 1944 under the command of W/Cmdr Jack Rose. The Typhoons were credited as being the first to arrive over the assault area on D-Day. The Squadron moved to Normandy on 27 June.

Bognor ALG was located at Lagness and was the site for 132 Wing which comprised two Norwegian Squadrons and one British Squadron, during the D-Day operations. One ‘Ranger’ operation destroyed six enemy aircraft on the ground at the major Luftwaffe airfield at Juvincourt near Paris.

Ladislav Svetlik, 312 Sqn, Appledram.

Selsey ALG near Church Norton was occupied by 135 Wing with three Squadrons. Norwegians, South African and Belgian pilots with Spitfires escorted bombers during D-Day and also conducted low-level patrols. The Wing was credited with the first D-Day kill by F/O Johnnie Houlton of 485 Squadron.

Three Mustang Squadrons of 122 Wing arrived at Funtington ALG mid-May. They were involved in ‘Ranger’ operations before D-Day and on D-Day escorted coastal command Beaufighters on anti-U-boat patrols.

The Czech Squadrons of 134 Wing, as part of the 2nd Tactical Air Force, were stationed at Apuldram ALG (alternative spelling: Appledram) and arrived 1 April 1944. The Wing comprised 310 (aircraft insignia code letters ‘NN’), 312 (‘DU’) and 313 (‘RY’) Squadrons under the leadership of W/Cmdr Tomáš Vybíral. The Squadrons continued to operate together almost all the time until the end of the war. 134 Wing was equipped with clipped wing Spitfire LF (low flying) Mk 1XB aircraft with the 4-blade propeller. 2804 Squadron RAF Regiment were located near Apuldram Church and provided Bofors guns defensive positions near Crouchers Farm, the Black Horse pub and the houses at Dell Quay.

The local farmer was obliged to provide land for an airfield. The quick and easy tracked runways of the bar and rod type were laid out as a lopsided cruciform. Construction had begun in February 1943, completed early spring and first used 2 June 1943. The metal mesh allowed the grass to grow through and sheep kept the grass short. Around Christmas 1943 work was carried out to deal with the drainage problems experienced in this very low-lying land close to water. Four more blister hangers were added now, along with hardstanding. When the Czechs arrived, the accommodation was initially under canvas. Field amenities were spartan with night temperatures initially below zero though showers, a gymnasium and a library were a short drive away at Tangmere. Later, the accommodation was provided in local requisitioned farm cottages. One of the farmer’s buildings functioned as a mess.

Tented life at Apuldram.

By the beginning of April 1944 Apuldram ALG was fully operational. Spitfires fitted with bomb racks attached under the fuselage had been delivered. Previously the Czech pilots had been temporarily located at Southend to receive training with low-level nose-diving offensive attacks on terrestrial targets. W/Cmdr Blackwood was in charge. The airfield staff totaled about 1800 including all ranks.

Appledram, April 1944

As part of the build-up to D-Day the Wing carried out a range of tasks including ‘Noball’ attacks on V bomb sites with 500lb bombs (though not necessarily known as such to the pilots at the time), strafing, bomber escort and offensive patrols. It took 40 minutes for a Spitfire to fly to Normandy. On one occasion one of these 500lb bombs was marked with the name of the Czech town Lidice. The Lidice massacre involved the complete destruction of the village with that name as a reprisal by the Nazis for the assassination of Heydrich. Some other independent offensive activities involved strafing and bombing rail and road targets.

Before D-Day F/O František Mlejnecký managed to drop a 500lb bomb into a railway tunnel at Rouen which meant that the line was closed for the rest of the war. F/O Miroslav Liškutín had a lucky escape when, after attacking a truck near Caen during a low-level sweep (Rhubarb) he failed to pull out of his dive properly and passed through the tops of the poplar trees lining the road. His Spitfire had experienced a high-speed stall. Liškutín was escorted back to base by F/O Karel Pernica where the damaged Spitfire engine finally failed and the pilot managed to glide down safely. On another occasion, Liškutín’s Spitfire was knocked about by anti-aircraft fire. He was fortunate enough to find one of the landing strips constructed by the Royal Engineers only three miles from the front line in Normandy. The aircraft was checked and he could take off.

Preparation for D-Day

Date: Activity
April:
10th night flying practice.
11th The Wing escorted Thunderbolts back from a ground attack mission.
13th Seven defensive patrols took place to cover a large convoy.
18th The Wing was moved to Manston to provide cover for Bostons and Hudsons. When the bombers did not arrive, the Squadrons returned to Apuldram.
19th 313 Sqn escorting Marauders bombing railway targets at Malines where W/O Mrtvy was shot down.. When the bombers did not arrive, the Squadrons returned to Apuldram.
20th Cover operations for heavy bombers over Normandy. W/O Wemyss broke formation over France and was not seen again. He was later reported as a POW.
21st W/Cmdr Tomáš Vybíral lead dive bombing attacks SE of Abbeville. At 14.00 hours General Eisenhower landed at Apuldram as he was due to attend a meeting at Bishop Otter College. He visited all the units and spoke with the pilots.
26th P/O Vojtěch Liysický crashed and died on return from bombing training. Aircraft probably damaged by its bomb exploding or hit by friendly fire from ships. Operations continued until the end of the month.
May:
2nd Funerals took place for three pilots; P/O Vojtěch Lysický and for F/Lt Jan Laška and F/Sgt František Fanta who were both killed when they collided over the airfield.
4th Patrols over convoys.
5th Patrols over convoys.
6th Poor weather.
7th Successful dive bombing near Neufchâtel-Hardelot.
8th Cover for Marauders bombing.
9th Escorting B26 bombers.
10th To Manston to escort Marauders attacking Mons. Then returned to Apuldram and dive-bombing in the Pas-de-Calais area.
11th Low-level ground attacks after bombing by Bostons at Douai.
12th Low-level ground attacks after bombing by Bostons at Douai.
13th Dive bombing at Bethune.
15th Moved to Manston. W/O Antonín Provonič was killed in a collision on the runway. A range of problems at Manston meant that there was only a limited need for the expected escorting of Bostons. The Squadrons returned to Apuldram.
18th Successful sorties.
19th ‘Noball’ targets in Normandy. W/O František Červený hit by flak but unhurt after a forced belly flop landing at Friston.
20th The wing attacked trains, boats and army convoys in the Le Havre area. During the raid P/O Ossendorf (Osenský) made an emergency landing in enemy territory. He successfully escaped and before too long returned to his squadron.
26th Diversionary attacks near Dieppe followed by an attack on a German convoy spotted when returning. Four aircraft lost whilst attacking in the St Malo area. S/Ldr Hugo Hrbáček (310), F/Sgt Augustin Meier (310), W/O Karel Valášek (313), and P/O Robert Ossendorf (312). F/Sgt Karel Stojan (313) was injured but managed to return to Apuldram.

Flying hours for May 1944 were as follows: 310 Squadron 476 hours, 312 Squadron 519 hours and 313 Squadron 526 hours. During May the Wing repeatedly escorted American bombers attacking northern France during which a total of 121,000 lbs of bombs were dropped. Liškutín has observed that it was wise to be wary of the American gunners as they were somewhat ‘trigger-happy’.

Czechoslovak ground crew; Josef Putna, František Adam and Alois Dočkal.

Date: Activity
June:
2nd Reconnaissance sorties over Normandy.
3rd Continued reconnaissance sorties and dive bombing.
4th The aircraft were given black and white striped markings (AEAF) for identification aiding visibility and thereby deterring the possibility of suffering friendly fire.
5th Patrols over the South Coast including the Isle of Wight and the Solent. The preparations for the invasion on land and sea were clearly visible to the pilots. The briefing for the invasion took place at 20.30 hours. Now no-one was permitted to leave the base.
6th The Czech Wings reverted to their fighter role which included duties over the armada and over the beaches in the Caen area preventing Lufwaffe penetration, code name ‘Neptune’. The pilots needed to take special care to watch out for the aircraft towing gliders. During the first sortie, 07:20-09:15, no enemy aircraft were seen but some slight anti-aircraft flak from Le Havre was encountered on the return journey. The pilots observed the troops landing and the ships firing. During the second sortie, 12:15-14:25, the Wing acted as low-level cover for the ships and troops. British and Canadian troops were seen on the shore and roads with lorries and tanks moving in all directions. During the third sortie, 16:30-18:20, the Wing provided low-level cover over the beaches and patrolling extended to the Seine estuary. Smoke was seen in some beach areas. No flak and no enemy aircraft were encountered. During the fourth sortie, 20:35-22:35, low-level cover was provided, gliders were observed landing between the beachhead and Caen but no enemy aircraft and no flak.
7th The second day of the invasion. F/Sgt Miroslav Moravec crashed into Birdham Pool after take-off and died. Eight FW190 appeared, two were damaged, one was shot down in flames by F/O Vladimír Kopeček of 312 Squadron, the others retreated.
8th 310 and 312 Squadrons were providing low-level patrols in loose fours North-East of Caen when a warning came through of enemy aircraft. Up to twelve FW190 fighter-bombers were seen attacking Sword Beach. The Spitfires dived from 3,000-4,000ft and intercepted at 2,000ft. W/Cdr Jan Čermák destroyed one FW190 and damaged another. F/Lt Otto Smik and F/Sgt Vít Angetter both destroyed one each. F/O Vladimír Kopeček damaged two FW190. P/O Antonín Škach and F/O František Mlejnecký both damaged one each. All aircraft returned safely to base. W/Cdr Jan Čermák landed with only two gallons of fuel remaining. The only damage was to F/O Vladimír Kopeček’s airplane probably as the result of striking empty shell cases.
9th No flying.
10th Thick cloud but one enemy aircraft seen and chased into the clouds by 312 Squadron. Sgt Jindřich Konvička pursued a Me109 and collided with the plane in the cloud mass. He landed in the sea, managed to get into his rubber dinghy and was rescued by a British ship. He was transported to Normandy and two days later was back in England.
11th At the end of the third sortie a haze and heavy sea mist was encountered at Apuldram when the pilots returned. Five aircraft landed at Selsey. F/Lt František Truhlář landed when out of fuel at Airspeeds, Portsmouth but crashed and was severely burnt. He survived and received plastic surgery. F/Sgt Vilém Nosek flew into a hillside north of Chichester and died. F/Lt Vojtěch Smolík survived a forced landing when out of fuel and was unhurt.
17th F/O Otto Smik shot down one FW190 and F/O František Vindiš also shot down one FW190 though the claim was recorded as 1½ to Smik and ½ to Vindiš.
18th W/O Jindřich Konvička returns to Apuldram. He had collided with a ME109 in cloud after a chase. The ME109 crashed and Konvička crashed into the sea. He was only slightly hurt and was rescued by the RAF Air Sea Rescue.
19th Bombing raids at 20:00 hours: 310 to Dieppe, 312 to the south of Abbeville and 313 to Hesdin. All aircraft returned safely.
20th Two beach head patrols.
21st Escorted 100 Halifax bombers to south-east of Boulogne. Encountered heavy flak but no losses. Ordered to move to Tangmere.
30th 302, 308 and 317 Polish Squadrons arrived at Apuldram.

313 Sqn Spitfire, Appledram, April 1944.

During June the Squadrons were notified of a move to Normandy but due to the slow progress of the Allied troops on land the move was deferred then canceled.

On leaving Apuldram the Czechs first moved to Tangmere and then on to Lympne and then Manston in Kent. The Squadrons were based at Tangmere from 22 June to 4 July. 28 June, 313 Squadron were moved to the B10 Advanced Landing Ground at Plumetot in Normandy but returned the following day. On 3 July, the squadrons transferred from the 2nd Tactical Air Force to Air Defence of Great Britain (ADGB). Otto Smik took over as Commander of ‘B’ Flight. The Czech pilots continued with defensive fighter duties and ‘Noball’ missions at Tangmere. During June 312 Squadron had completed 1,140 operational hours in the air.

On 14 August, the Czech Squadrons attacked the Ruhr district, their first action over Germany.

© Paul Kopecek




Posted in 310 Sqd, 311 Sqd, 312 Sqd, 313 Sqd | 2 Comments

Cesta za Kridly





Cesta za Křídly


od

Alois Štanc








Vzpomínky pilota britského Královského letectva (RAF) Aloise Štance. Kniha tak přináší i mnohá dosud nezveřejněná svědectví o osudech československých vojáků za druhé světové války. Kniha Cesta za křídly je osobní výpovědí statečného muže, který se dobrovolně vydal do bojů druhé světové války, aby pomohl Spojencům a své vlasti. V roce 1942 zahájil svůj vysněný pilotní výcvik, který ukončil v srpnu 1943 v kanadském Medicine Hat. Poté nastoupil k československé 312. stíhací peruti RAF, v níž působil až do konce války. Od invaze do konce války vykonal 87 bojových náletů a dosáhl anglické hodnosti Pilot/Officer RAF.

Alois Štanc přibližuje vedle bojových operací také osudy svých kamarádů, každodenní život v peruti i vstřícné přijetí zahraničních vojáků britskou společností.

Memories pilot’s Royal Air Force (RAF) Alois Štanc. The book also brings so many hitherto unpublished testimony about the fate of Czechoslovak soldiers during World War II. The book Journey to the wings of the personal testimony of a brave man who had voluntarily gone to the fighting of World War II that helped the Allies and their homeland. In 1942 he started his dream pilot training, which ended in August 1943 in Canada, Medicine Hat. Then he joined the Czechoslovak 312th Fighter Squadron, where he worked until the end of the war. Since the invasion of the war did 87 combat raids and reached the rank of Pilot English / RAF Officer.

Alois Štanc approaches the next combat operations and the fate of their friends, daily life in the squadron and friendly reception of foreign troops British company.

Publisher: Iris Press
ISBN: 978-80-904-3176-8
Format: Paperpack, 269 pages
Language: Czech
Published: 2013
Price: 269 Kč




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Free Czechoslovak Forces in Great Britain from 1940





Free Czechoslovak Forces in Great Britain from 1940


A historical and philatelic study

by

Richard Beith FRPSL




Monograph 30 completes a series of three monographs covering the Czechoslovak Forces in the West between 1939 and 1945: No. 26 (France 1939-1940), No. 27 (The Czechoslovak Independent Armoured Brigade in France 1944-1945 and their return home) and this new volume. All three monographs have separate ‘historical ‘and ‘philatelic’ chapters, academic footnotes and bibliographies.

The new volume is divided in two parts:

I The Czechoslovak Army-in-Exile in the United Kingdom
II Czechoslovaks in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Part II includes a chapter on the previously neglected philatelic topic of the airmen training in Canada and The Bahamas.

Monograph 30 contains viii + 160 = 168 pages, A4, full colour.

Publisher: Czechoslovak Philatelic Society of Great Britain
Format: A4 card covers
Language: English
Published: September 2017
Price: £22.50 + postage as appropriate
Availability: In print.
Order via rexdixon@btinternet.com or through the CPSGB website.




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Perut 312





Peruť 312


od

Ladislav Sitenský








Významný český fotograf Ladislav Sitenský (1919–2009) za druhé světové války proslul svými snímky dokumentujícími československý odboj na západní frontě. Největší slávu mu přinesly fotografie z prostředí letectva, u něhož dva roky působil jako příslušník pozemního personálu 312. čs. stíhací perutě.

The prominent Czech photographer, Ladislav Sitenský (1919-2009), renowned for his work in World War II, documenting the Czechoslovak resistance on the Western Front. His greatest achievement was his photographs from the RAF, where for two years he served as a member of ground personnel in 312 Squadron.

Právě o této jednotce pojednávala Sitenského první kniha Peruť 312 z roku 1948, která měla vyjít v nakladatelství Naše vojsko, ale jejíž osudy fatálně ovlivnil únorový komunistický převrat: celý náklad šel do stoupy, tiskařům se podařilo zachránit a svázat jen několik výtisků, z nichž se staly vysoce ceněné sběratelské exempláře. Po padesáti letech se autorovi šťastnou náhodou vrátila také maketa knihy, kterou kdosi nalezl v popelnici v Českých Budějovicích… Fakticky prvního vydání se tak publikace Peruť 312 dočkala teprve nyní, po bezmála sedmi desetiletích, díky péči dědiců Ladislava Sitenského. Jak bylo pro tohoto tvůrce typické, velký důraz se při tom kladl na co nejvyšší kvalitu reprodukce fotografií.

It was this unit that was the subject of the first edition of Sitenský 312 Squadron book of 1948, which were due to be published by the Armies publishing house, but whose fate was fatally decided by the February Communist coup: all the copies that had been printed were destroyed, the printers managed to save and bind only a few copies, which have become highly prized collector specimens. After fifty years, the author has also been lucky by returning of the draft of the book found in a rubbish bin in České Budějovice … In fact, the first edition of the 312 Squadron book is only now available, after almost seven decades, thanks to the care of the heirs of Ladislav Sitenský. As has been typical for this creator, great emphasis has been put on the highest quality of photo reproduction.

Odbornou revizi původních autorských textů provedl a autorem stati o 312. stíhací peruti je významný vojenský historik Jiří Rajlich.

An expert review of the original author’s texts of the 312 Squadron book was undertaken by eminent military historian and author, Jiří Rajlich.

Publisher: Mladá fronta
ISBN: 978-80-204-4627-5
Format: Hardback, 176 pages, 207 photos
Language: Czech and English
Published: 2017
Price: 549 Kč




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